Formula One: Ferrari name Vasseur as new team principal

Frenchman Frederic Vasseur until recently held the position of chief executive officer and team principal of Alfa Romeo. PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS – Frenchman Frederic Vasseur was named team principal and general manager of Ferrari on Tuesday, tasked with ending Red Bull’s dominance in Formula One.

It will be the 54-year-old’s first job with one of F1‘s heavyweights.

“Ferrari N.V. today announced that Fred Vasseur will join Scuderia Ferrari on Jan 9 as team principal and general manager,” said Ferrari in a statement.

Vasseur fills the void left by the resignation of Mattia Binotto last month after Ferrari failed to mount a serious and sustained challenge to Red Bull, despite a promising start to the campaign.

Vasseur until recently held the position of chief executive officer and team principal of Sauber Motorsport (currently Alfa Romeo F1 Team), having been there since 2017.

Meanwhile, McLaren appointed Andrea Stella as their team principal on Tuesday in place of Andreas Seidl after the German joined Swiss-based Sauber as replacement for Vasseur.

Italian Stella, a former performance engineer for Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen at Ferrari, was promoted from an executive director role at McLaren Racing.

The extraordinary merry-go-round of team bosses was kicked off in November when Binotto handed in his resignation as Ferrari principal. Williams are also looking for someone new after announcing on Monday the departure of Jost Capito.

Before his impending Ferrari move, Vasseur was the team principal of Renault in 2016.

“We are delighted to welcome Fred Vasseur to Ferrari as our team principal,” said Ferrari CEO Benedetto Vigna.

“Throughout his career, he has successfully combined his technical strengths as a trained engineer with a consistent ability to bring out the best in his drivers and teams.

“This approach and his leadership are what we need to push Ferrari forward with renewed energy.”

Vasseur gained a reputation for nurturing new talent, helping win the F2 series in 2005 and 2006 with future world champions Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton respectively.

He has strong links from the junior categories with Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc.

Leclerc was leading the most recent F1 championship in the early stages before his challenge for the driver’s title imploded. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen retained the crown.

“As someone who has always held a lifelong passion for motor sport, Ferrari has always represented the very pinnacle of the racing world to me,” said Vasseur.

“I look forward to working with the talented and truly passionate team in Maranello to honour the history and heritage of the Scuderia and deliver for our Tifosi around the world.”

Ferrari began this season with two wins in the opening three races, but were then swept aside by the runaway success of Red Bull and Verstappen.

Numerous pitlane missteps and reliability issues damaged Leclerc’s attempt to keep up with Verstappen.

Leclerc finished second in the title race but almost 150 points adrift of the Dutchman.

Ferrari also finished runners-up in the constructors’ championship, but over 200 points behind Red Bull.

Raikkonen delivered Ferrari’s last drivers’ crown, in 2007, with the team winning their last constructors’ championship the following year. REUTERS

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